- George Archibald
Nobody explained to me why George resigned from The Washington Times and took a job in an Arizona Republican congressman's office. He reportedly got fired from that position after a few months, and sought to return to his old job at the newspaper, but it had already been filled. George then apparently conceived a vendetta against editor-in-chief Wesley Pruden and managing editor Francis Coombs, whom he blamed for his problems.
When the SPLC and other left-wingers leveled accusations of racism against me, Archibald seized on this as a weapon to use against his enemies, claiming to have heard conversations that never took place, et cetera. Archibald had some friends inside the Washington Times newsroom, and Wes and Fran had a few other enemies there, and this all got whipped up into a sort of souffle of slander. I was, in a manner of speaking, collateral damage in an ill-motivated campaign of defamation against my bosses who, as I have often said before, specifically prohibited me from addressing these accusations.
My August 2007 "blowup" in the newsroom (referenced by Archibald in an old blog post cited at LGF) was one of those typical events in an industry where shouting matches between colleagues are by no means unusual. While I was working on deadline for the next day's paper, a dear friend from the graphics department had the misfortune to ask me -- in a too-insistent manner -- about a feature story for the day-after-tomorrow's paper.
Considering myself badly overburdened and underappreciated (also not uncommon in the newspaper industry), I responded by saying something like, "Well, how about I just resign right now and let them find someone else to do this crappy job?"
My colleague Victor Morton, sitting at the next desk -- who knew my temperament quite well -- said quietly, "Stacy, don't." But I had had more than enough, walked straight to national editor Ken Hanner's office and told him in quite colorful terms exactly what he could do with this crappy job. Then I went directly to the heavy steel door at the exit and kicked it open (frightening a dear friend who happened to be approaching it from the other side). I got in my car and drove home, with no intention of ever returning to the office except to clean out my desk.
Well, I was persuaded to reconsider. Four months later, however, it was announced that Wes Pruden would be replaced by a new editor hired from the Washington Post. It so happened that I had a freelance project that required me to spend 10 days in Africa, and it appeared that at last, it was time to go. So I submitted my resignation with no hard feelings.
As for George Archibald, I am told he recently deleted the personal blog where he had chronicled his various woes, which seemed to involve heavy alcohol consumption. I never wished to be George's enemy and would regret his foolish self-destruction even if he hadn't chosen maliciously to defame me, Wes, Fran, or other of our colleagues at the Times.
- Bill White
When I first had contact with Bill, he was one of those third-party local-gadfly types in Montgomery County, Maryland, an affluent D.C. suburb. Bill differed from the usual sort of gadfly in that he was (a) quite young, then still in his 20s, and (b) extremely intelligent. I am sure that there are school records documenting Bill's IQ as over 140. He had read extensively in history and philosophy, and could discuss these subjects with impressive facility.
Bill was something of an Internet pioneer, serving as Web master for his own "Utopian Anarchist Party" (which later became the oxymoronically named "Libertarian Socialist Party"). I first encountered Bill after someone called my attention to his reaction to the Columbine massacre:
The Washington TimesMichael Reagan seems to have been onto something. White's praise of Harris and Klebold was by any reckoning the most bizarre possible response to the Columbine killings, about which I wrote or edited several other stories, including a feature about Cassie Bernall, the 17-year-old Christian girl who was one of the most notable victims of that infamous crime.
April 30, 1999, Page A10
Anarchist Web site salutes 2 killers
By Robert Stacy McCain
An anarchist party based in Montgomery County operates an Internet site that urges the abolition of government and praises the "courage" of two Columbine High School killers.
On the day of the massacre, Utopian Anarchist Party spokesman Bill White posted a "salute" to teen-age gunmen Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold as "two young men who had the courage to strike back against the system, even if their strike back was somewhat misguided in its aims."
The UAP's World Wide Web site -- www.overthrow.com -- describes the party as "militant anti-government anarchism at its best" and includes such recipes for revolution as a School Stopper's Textbook, first published by the Youth International Party (Yippies) in the 1960s.
Politically, the UAP is eclectic. The party's Web site denounces liberals and conservatives alike, condemning the anti-bigotry efforts of the Simon Wiesenthal Center as "progressive fascism" and announcing dates for communist May Day parades.
"The government is a tool of the ruling class, used for the systematic exploitation of the masses," Mr. White, 21, a 1994 graduate of Bethesda's Walt Whitman High School, said in a telephone interview with The Washington Times.
He said he began his drift toward anarchism at age 13, when he began reading such works at the Communist Manifesto.
He "started to form mildly socialist ideas," Mr. White said, and school officials "tried to shut down my free speech" when he tried to express those views.
The UAP argues for the abolition of public schools which are "a tool the ruling class uses to indoctrinate the young," Mr. White said, "and, in the last election, 5 percent of the Montgomery County electorate agreed with me."
Last year, Mr. White ran on the UAP ticket and got 4,146 votes in the September primary for an at-large seat on the county Board of Education. . . .
"I don't believe people should go around killing people at random," Mr. White said, but stressed that many students feel oppressed by public schools and reacted to the Columbine massacre accordingly.
"What happened in Colorado was viewed by a lot of young people as empowering. . . . They felt that 'we can fight back and we can win,' " the UAP spokesman said. "That's why there have been so many copycats and bomb threats" since the April 20 massacre.
On the UAP Web site, Mr. White called the Colorado shootings an expression of German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche's concept of the "will to power." Mr. White also wrote: "Had this shooting occurred outside a police station, or outside the NATO conference, or outside the White House, it would have been much more effective."
Mr. White, who condemns President Clinton as "corrupt," said his beliefs have earned him and the UAP some important enemies. He proudly mentions that conservative talk-show host Michael Reagan recently called him "a threat to America."
The bizarre nature of White's response was intriguing to me as a journalist. One of my specialties at The Washington Times was covering the political and cultural fringe -- for example, I wrote the newspaper's obituary of former Communist Party USA chairman Gus Hall.
The Joy of Kook Politics
Regular mainstream politics, where phony Democratic hacks do battle with sold-out Republican frauds, tends to become tedious, and yet there are scores of reporters in Washington who masochistically crave the privilege of covering such pointless snoozefests. The reporter who can locate something newsworthy on the oft-ignored fringe of the political spectrum has got a much better chance of scoring an exclusive -- and, frankly, it's a lot more interesting.
Also, I like crazy people. God help me, but I do love a kook. (Ask any journalist who covered last year's Libertarian Party convention what a target-rich environment that was for kook-lovers.) As long as they are not actually dangerous, the wackos and zanies are so much more fun than the uptight Republicans and dishonest Democrats one usually meets in Washington.
And, as I said, Bill White's extreme intelligence meant he was no ordinary wacko. He was always smarter than the rest.
Bill seems to have been an autodidact and, when he wasn't in full-on fringe-gadfly mode, could discuss political theory in an articulate (although always quite radical) manner. He had inherited money or won a lawsuit -- depending on which rumors you believed -- and this provided him a financial independence that relieved him of any compulsion to seek an ordinary career. He made a full-time hobby of political activism on the fringe.
For this reason, Bill actually proved quite useful as a source. Remember, this was 1999, when "anti-globalization" was a pet cause of the Left. There were big protests in D.C. against the IMF and WTO, and Bill's wide acquaintance with various local left-wingers -- socialists, anarchists, etc. -- enabled him to give me occasional tips about what was actually going on behind the scenes of that movement.
Recent revelations about law-enforcement surveillance of left-wing groups were no revelation to me: Bill told me all about that stuff, including the presence within the protest planning meetings of agents provocateurs -- undercover cops whose job was to entice unsuspecting radicals into conspiring to commit criminal acts that would justify their arrest. (This tactic is actually quite common. If anyone remembers the once-famous Ruby Ridge seige in Idaho, Randy Weaver was targeted after an undercover informant entrapped Weaver by persuading him to saw-off a shotgun shorter than the federal legal limit.)
From One Fringe to Another
As 1999 gave way to 2000, Bill White gave me tips about the (ultimately successful) effort by Pat Buchanan to win the presidential nomination of Ross Perot's old Reform Party. Bill knew people who were involved in that operation, and he tipped me to what was going on behind the scenes. Basically, the Reform Party had a wide-open delegate-selection process, and Buchanan's supporters were quite shrewdly opportunistic in exploiting this vulnerability.
It was subsequent to that -- in late 2000, as I recall -- that Bill White began to tell me about goings-on within neo-Nazi William Pierce's National Alliance. Pierce was in his late 60s, ill and increasingly feeble (he finally died in 2002), and there was some infighting over who would succeed him as leader of what was then the largest organization of its kind.
This was occurring, understand, while I was deeply involved in editing and writing regular news. Mainstream politics was unsually interesting in 2000. There was the Republican primary battle between George W. Bush and John McCain, followed by a see-saw general-election campaign that culminated in the deadlocked presidential election and the long Florida recount. Meanwhile, however, it seemed that the same brilliant gadfly who had once given me inside tips about anti-globalization radicals was now drifting into the orbit of neo-Nazis.
This was nearly a decade ago, and the timeline is quite fuzzy now, but I remember in particular one night (was it in 2002?) when I met Bill White at the Dubliner bar near Union Station. During that meeting, he made repeated references to his conspiratorial anti-Semitic beliefs, and I tried to tell him, in effect, "Don't go there." But he was determined to do so, and clearly was not interested in being persuaded to the contrary.
Bill stayed in touch for a while by e-mail and occasional phone calls. He went off my radar until, one day, I saw him on TV at some kind of Nazi rally in a brownshirt uniform, doing all the Sieg-Heil stuff. He eventually became entangled in legal trouble and, among other things, appears to have harassed Charles Johnson back when LGF was a conservative blog.
Many Questions, Few Answers
What happened to Bill White? I've thought about that a lot. The best explanation I can offer is that he very much wanted to be recognized as a leader.
Bill was so much more intelligent than the typical D.C.-area "anarchist" in the late 1990s that he insisted on having his own operation, rather than joining a pre-existing movement led by the usual leftoid idiots.
Then, perhaps because of his disgust with the general stupidity of the "anarchist" Left, and having learned something from watching how the Buchananites beat Perot's naive would-be Reform Party successors in 2000, he got the idea to re-make himself as a neo-Nazi leader, moving into the vacuum created by the illness and death of William Pierce. Also, I recall that Bill became romantically involved with a neo-Nazi chick, and that might have been an influencing factor.
Bill was vastly smarter than your average Sieg-Heiler, because neo-Nazism attracts an intensely stupid variety of white people. The advantage of his keen mind enabled Bill to quickly rise to become a spokesman for the neo-Nazi movement and, according to one recent news article, "commander of the American National Social Worker's Party." He evidently decided to be the Big Smart Fish in a small pond full of morons -- an unworthy ambition for someone blessed with both intelligence and wealth.
A Google search reveals his "Overthrow.com" site was shut down last October by the FBI, and I have no idea of his ultimate fate.
It's tragic, you see? Despite the egregious and bizarre pronouncements of his youthful radicalism, Bill White might have followed the path trod by other young radicals toward a legitimate and reputable engagement with the political mainstream. Hey, if Bill Ayers can become a mainstream figure . . .
You see that it was by no means pre-destined in April 1999, when I first came into contact with Bill White, that he would follow the trajectory he has followed in the past decade. By the same token, when I first met George Archibald in 1997, I hadn't the faintest inkling that, within a few short years this cheerful, friendly man would be sunk into alcoholic despondency, pursuing a vendetta against my bosses by defaming me.
So, too, we look at Charles Johnson and LGF with a sense of tragedy, made more tragic by the knowledge that Johnson's sad decline might have been averted. Who knew, at his zenith of influence in 2004, that a mere five years later LGF would be reduced to an almost invisible shadow of its former glory? Who knows why Charles Johnson has chosen to pursue his self-destructive course?
Some people will not listen to reason, nor consider the possibility that they may be wrong. In their arrogance, they never seek advice, or else ignore helpful advice when it is offered to them. When this path produces predictably negative results, they blame others for their problems -- often those who mean them no harm. They seek out scapegoats and pursue a course of vengeance, allowing selfishness and anger to poison their souls, making enemies of those whom they just as easily could have made friends.
How the mighty have fallen! A warning to others, who might similarly stumble onto the wrong path.
Of these three individuals -- George Archibald, Bill White, and Charles Johnson -- the one who stands out, ironically, is White. Whatever grievous wrongs he has committed, Bill White has never attacked me.
He was always smarter than the rest, as I said.